National Guidelines for Ramsar Wetlands are being developed by the Australian Government Department of the Environment in consultation with the states and territories through the Wetlands and Aquatic Ecosystem Sub Group.
The aim of the guidelines is to facilitate improved management of Ramsar sites in line with Australia's commitments under the Ramsar Convention and responsibilities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The guidelines provide a framework for Ramsar Convention implementation in Australia and provide jurisdictions and other interested parties with clear guidance on the management of Ramsar sites.
The guidelines are being developed as a series of modules on topics including the process for nominating Ramsar wetlands, development of ecological character descriptions, requirements for mapping and describing the boundaries of Ramsar wetlands and ongoing management issues for Ramsar sites. The modules will be available on the website as they are completed.
Available modules are listed below:
Boundary Description and Mapping Guidelines
The first module of the national guidelines is the Boundary Description and Mapping Guidelines. The boundary and mapping guidelines provide guidance on describing boundaries, generating and managing spatial data and producing maps for Australian Ramsar sites. They provide guidance to managers of Ramsar wetlands and agencies that have a role in the preparation and approval of documentation for Ramsar wetlands.
This document replaces the Mapping Specifications for Australian Ramsar Wetlands (Version 1) Module 1 of the National Guidelines for Ramsar Wetlands – Implementing the Ramsar Convention in Australia.
National framework and guidance for describing the ecological character of Australia's Ramsar Wetlands
The second module of the national guidelines is the National framework and guidance for describing the ecological character of Australia's Ramsar Wetlands. The framework is a nationally agreed standard method for describing the ecological character of Ramsar wetlands. It provides a step-by-step guide to the development of an Ecological Character Description and outlines the essential elements that should be included. The framework will contribute to understanding and documenting ecological character of Ramsar wetlands, providing the baseline descriptions at the time of listing, and helping to determine monitoring needs and assess change.
- National framework and guidance for describing the ecological character of Australia's Ramsar Wetlands
National guidance on notifying change in ecological character of Australia's Ramsar Wetlands (Article 3.2)
The third module of the national guidelines is the National guidance on notifying change in ecological character of Australia's Ramsar Wetlands (Article 3.2). This guideline describes the process within Australia for the notification, under Article 3.2 of the Ramsar Convention, of change to the ecological character of Ramsar-listed wetlands.
- National guidance on notifying change in ecological character of Australia's Ramsar Wetlands (Article 3.2)
Australian Ramsar site nomination guidelines
The fourth module of the national guidelines is the Australian Ramsar site nomination guidelines. These guidelines outline the Australian Government's processes and requirements for adding sites to the list of Ramsar wetlands, thus providing a nationally consistent framework for Ramsar site nominations in Australia and its offshore Territories. Site nominations can be made by the Australian or state/territory governments, non-government organisations, community entities, trusts, Traditional Owners, individuals, private landowners or a company. Each state/territory government has priorities and processes for identifying and supporting a Ramsar site nomination.